I have been reading and contemplating some of the basic tenants of what is called Mindfulness in the west. It takes many but perhaps not all of the components of Buddhism and I am increasingly finding it to be a useful vehicle inside which I can see how to become a more complete person. I have spent much of my adult life trying to develop and then deepen my conceptual side. I am appreciative of the benefits of this approach. However, I am now (after all this time?) realizing some of my limitations are probably self-induced and perhaps mindfulness can help me attain a broader view, a deeper understanding of myself and of my relation to other people on this planet and even nature itself.
I have recently come across a poem by Derek Walcott (which was read by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the end of a great interview with Krista Tippet on the APM show On Being: http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2009/opening-to-our-lives/). Here it is:
"Love after Love" by Derek Walcott The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other's welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
There is much too much to say about this poem. Let me just say here that this poem is meaningful for me because I take it to be an encouragement to reach inward to aspects of myself that are seemingly unexplored. That is a good thing. Also, let me say that this poem does not in any way discourage communication with others. In fact it encourages me to try to understand better all those other people in my life for themselves, for they have also experienced many of the same things I have experienced. I may well never achieve enlightenment but allowing this approach to inform me has certainly left me enlightened!
Well, maybe it’s a start.